Could you stop Landon Donovan from scoring a goal? These people tried outside a Buffalo Wild Wings


How surreal would it be to go to your local Buffalo Wild Wings for some food and have Landon Donovan, the greatest male soccer player in U.S. history, stop you at the entrance and challenge you to a game of one-on-one?

Recently, at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Los Angeles, the above scenario played itself out. Would you have the guts to jump in the net and try to stop the all-time leader in goals and assists for both the U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS? The answer may not be so easy after you watch this video:

We had the opportunity to speak to Donovan about his experience making the video, hanging out with fans and life after retirement.

You teamed up with Buffalo Wild Wings on this video and it looked like a really cool, fun spot to produce. Tell us about it.

It was fun for me, and I think it was fun for the fans too. We set up shop right in front of the Buffalo Wild Wings in front of Sherman Oaks in L.A. I don’t think people really understood what was going on at first. We had a goal there and I was just juggling the ball, passing it around with people walking by. And then I walked over and said, “Does anyone want to try and get in goal and save some shots?” I don’t think people knew if I was for real or not. But then we got a couple people who were pretty brave and wanted to be the first ones, so they suited up, got in goal and I just got to unleash on them, and it was really fun.

Then we spent some time just hanging out, about an hour or two. I signed autographs, and then we invited everyone inside to watch the Mexico vs. Jamaica game. We had some beers and some wings and it was really fun. It was enjoyable for me – not something I would’ve probably ever enjoyed doing while I was playing and trying to focus on the next game – but now that I have time, it’s really fun to engage with people.

Did the fans expect you to kick the ball as hard as you are able to?

I don’t think they expected it. And there were a few particularly macho guys that were competitive, and I think they really believed they were going to get in there and stop some of the shots. I made sure for those in particular I focused a little more.

What was your overall conversion rate on the day? Like 80%?

Probably. I think 80% is probably right. Not bad for an old retired guy.

How many miles per hour can you kick a ball?

I think generally it is probably in the 70 MPH range or so. But I think the really strong guys can kick it in the 90s.

At this point, are you tired of soccer? How do you feel?

No, it’s different. When I was playing, believe it or not, I didn’t watch much. I would never go to games. Because you’re so involved in it, you just need time away from it to keep yourself sane. But now that I’ve been out of it for a year and a half, I’ve had time to appreciate it in a different kind of way. For the first year, I just got away and didn’t watch much soccer. But this has been my life, right? And so, I have all these relationships and friendships through this beautiful game. And it’s fun to be a part of it.

I think what sticks with me and resonates with me is I’ve constantly tried to grow this game. And just because I can’t kick the ball like I used to, I can still grow it in other ways. And it’s been enjoyable for me in other ways, and I think the fans, too. They actually get some time to spend with you and talk with you, get a glimpse inside your head to see what it was like, and I think people enjoy that.


In the video, there was a guy who mentioned that he never gets starstruck but that he was literally shaking because he got to meet you. That’s got to be a cool experience for you.

It’s really cool. And that guy and his fiancé in particular were really genuinely excited. I actually sat inside with them afterwards while we ate and drank and watched the game. They were such a nice couple. And it’s really cool for me because I think sometimes we forget, as athletes or as people in the public eye, how much influence we have.

I was thinking of him and put myself in his shoes. He was walking by that day to go to the gym with his fiancé, and they just happened to see us and he stopped. Within an hour, he was taking shots from me, and inside, eating Buffalo Wild Wings and drinking beer with me. That’s pretty cool to be able to do that and just hang out with people. It was a really successful day and a lot of fun.


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